Blog Archives

On Thursday January 19th, will host Michael Showalter to kick off its 2017 Regional History Colloquium series with Room Enough for them All: The People of Lancaster County on the Eve of Revolution. Showalter is a museum educator at Ephrata Cloister, and will share the history of the various religious groups that sought freedom in mid-18th century Lancaster County.

By the middle of the 1750s, Lancaster County had become one of the most diverse places in all of the American Colonies. This mix of cultures and customs was created by Penn’s policies of religious toleration, vast natural resources, and a spirit of cooperation. Who were these people and what was their life like? Looking at tax records, church histories, travel accounts, local histories, and family traditions, this presentation will examine some information about the early residents of the county.

Michael S. Showalter is the Museum Educator at the historic Ephrata Cloister. He holds a BA in History from Millersville University and a MA from Penn State University in American Studies. He began volunteering at the historic Ephrata Cloister while still in high school, and has worked at the Cornwall Iron Furnace and The State Museum of Pennsylvania. He has been on the staff at historic Ephrata Cloister in 1996. In addition to leading tours at the site, he oversees the educational programs, public events, and manages the volunteer program at the site.

The colloquium Room Enough for them All will take place on Thursday, January 19, 2017 in Ryder Hall at, 230 N President Avenue, Lancaster. A social gathering with refreshments will begin at 4pm, followed by the lecture from 4:30-5:30pm. The colloquium is free and open to the public.’s Presidential Lecture for October will feature Doug Egerton, Ph.D. who will discuss Black Activism and Reconstruction in the North. Republican politicians and white reformers invariably thought of Reconstruction as a policy aimed at the defeated Confederacy. Black activists and veterans knew better. As Frederick Douglass once said during the conflict, this was a war of “national reclamation.” Black Pennsylvanians were among the largest state contingents in the pioneering African-American units, the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Infantry regiments, yet as in Lincoln’s Illinois, these soldiers could not vote in the Quaker State, even at the war’s end. In a series of northern conventions starting in 1864, black activists demanded not merely the death of slavery, but voting rights and social equality in every state. This talk chronicles the struggle to make Reconstruction a national movement and shows, as the 1871 Election Day assassination of Philadelphia teach and activist Octavius Catto reminds us, that many Americans gave their last full measure of devotion long after formal combat ended in 1865.

Douglas R. Egerton has taught history at Le Moyne College since 1987; he has also held visiting appointments at Colgate University, Cornell University, and the University College of Dublin. He is the author of eight books, including Thunder At the Gates: The Black Civil War Regiments That Redeemed America (2016), He Shall Go Out Free: The Lives of Denmark Vesey (1999), The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America’s Most Progressive Era (2014), Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election That Brought on the Civil War (2010), Gabriel’s Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 and 1802 (1993), and Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America (2009). His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, and the Boston Globe. He lives near Syracuse, New York, with his wife, historian Leigh Fought.

The Presidential Lecture Black Activism and Reconstruction in the North will take place on Friday, October 14, 2016 in Ryder Hall at, 230 N President Avenue, Lancaster. A social gathering with refreshments will begin at 4pm, followed by the lecture from 4:30-5:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.